In Barcelona you’ll have easy access to an incredible selection of attractions: over 20 Michelin-star restaurants, a world-class nightlife scene, unique architecture, top shopping, and the list goes on and on.

But whether you’re in Barcelona for the short-term or long-term, you shouldn’t forget that there are amazing places to see outside of the city in Catalonia. The city’s close proximity to mountains, rolling countryside, and beaches, means there are a great selection of weekends away or day-trips on offer. You can get a beautiful bit of space to breathe outside of the hustle and bustle.

Here are 4 of our picks for beautiful day-trips that aren’t too far from Barcelona – with a focus on the Costa Brava region to the north of the city. And to help cater for everyone’s tastes we’ve split this into a few beach destinations and a few in the countryside.

Beach trips:

Sant Pol de Mar

  • Get there: by train
  • Time to get there: approx. 50 mins

Less than an hour from Barcelona, Sant Pol de Mar is one of the easier destinations to get to on this list and a great option for a day trip. If you’ve been somewhat disappointed by the crowds on Barcelona’s city beaches, then this could be a good choice for an escape. Here you’ll find one of the best beaches within easy reach of Barcelona: a long and picturesque stretch of sand. There are also some cute smaller beaches studding the coastline to the north of the main beach too.

There used to be a 3 Michelin Star restaurant here called Sant Pau but that sadly closed in 2018. However, there are still quite a few excellent restaurants where you can enjoy a paella or some fresh seafood by the sea – including one restaurant ‘Banys Lluis’ which is right on the main beach, with a few seats on the sand. The value for money is better than in Barcelona here so treat yourself!

While the town is quite charming don’t expect too much to see outside of the beach. It’s a pretty low-key place.

Llafranc (& Cadaques)

  • Get there: by car
  • Time to get there: approx. 90 mins (Llafranc); approx. 120 mins (Cadaques)

Llafranc - best towns to visit near Barcelona for a day trip 2021-minLlafranc is a bit further afield than Sant Pol de Mar. It’s in the Costa Brava proper and more apt for an overnight stay. However, if you’ve got a car then you could also make it a day-trip as it only takes about 90 minutes to get there.

It is a stunning spot. There’s a stretch of golden sand beside the typically azure and transparent waters of the Costa Brava. The little town itself is old and charming too, but with plenty to do and quite a few good restaurants. It’s a pretty and sophisticated place.

It’s also a peaceful spot, helped by it still being slightly under-the-radar and not so easy to reach if you don’t have a car. But like a lot of places in the Costa Brava in Spain, it can get busy in July and August. You’ll have even more tranquility If you go a little out of season and avoid the weekends.

Further up the coast, Cadaques (see featured image) offers the same kind of deal but on a slightly bigger and perhaps even more picturesque scale. It’s regularly cited as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and is certainly worth a visit. It takes a little longer to get there, though, and you’ll definitely need a car to avoid a very long and arduous journey.

Countryside trips:

Peratallada

  • Get there: by car or by train
  • Time to get there: approx. 90 mins (car), 3h (train)

Peratallada - best towns to visit near Barcelona for a day trip 2021-minMoving inland, Peratallada is one of our top picks for a beautiful spot in the Catalan countryside. It’s a magical medieval town and one of the finest to be found in Spain, let alone Catalonia.

The charms of this town aren’t hard to find. As you wind your way through the byzantine streets, squares, alleyways, and arches, you’ll feel as if you’re transported back in time. It’s fun to get a little lost for a while.

There are lots of handcraft shops and little boutiques to visit – as well as a selection of bars and restaurants to enjoy local flavours in the perfectly-preserved streets. And don’t forget to visit the 11th century castle that tops it all off – where you’ll get a better view of the town beneath.

Another good point is that Peratallada – although beloved by locals – is not too-touristy too yet. There’s still plenty of the ancient atmosphere for you to soak up without feeling like you’re in a theme park.

Girona

  • Get there: by train
  • Time to get there: approx. 40 mins

Girona - best towns to visit near Barcelona for a day trip 2021-min

Girona is northern Catalonia’s largest city, home to around a hundred thousand people, but it’s still small enough to enjoy during a day-trip and has a far more intimate feel than Barcelona. The old historic center is very picturesque and easily walkable.

Many people who visit Barcelona, or the area, forget to visit Girona and they’re missing out on a bit of a gem. It has gorgeous medieval streets and one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in Europe. It’s also very easy to get to on the train from Barcelona.

If you’re a foodie then Girona’s known for its fayre and there’s some world-class cuisine on offer. For such a small city, Girona has an incredible concentration of Michelin Star restaurants (around 15). El Celler de Can Roca is found here and it’s one of the best restaurants in the world. The food’s almost a reason to visit alone.

So, those are some great options outside of Barcelona but the areas around Barcelona are full of other beautiful towns too – don’t forget to do a bit more research to find something that’s exactly what you’re looking for and easy to reach.

And, of course, it goes without saying you should take advantage of Barcelona too while you’re here. Why not take a look at our Segway Tours, like our Gaudi Segway Tour or Gastronomic Segway Tour? They’ll give you a unique, fun and easy way to see the best that the city has to offer while you’re not out day-tripping.